Khastuul

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The sun shone heavily as the clouds danced in the sky and the wind rolled in from the coast. On the Inroad ambled a small rickety wagon, with a fat and happy ogre whistling a jaunty out-of-tune song as the wagon lazily bounced its way into town.

  The wagon hadn't even made it into the small village before the townsfolk had all gathered at the center square, anxious looks upon their faces. The wagon wobbled into the area, the ogre still whistling his merry tune. The horses came to a silent stop, the Ogre leaped from the seat to the ground, and excitedly exclaimed that he is open for business. Clapping his hands together, the wagon came to life, twisting and groaning as the wood warped and enlarged into a storefront that read "Cartoven's Exotic Emporium".

  The villagers excitedly bustle about browsing the various fabrics, spices and knick knacks of the store while being aided by magically conjured store hands. The Ogre - known well in these lands as Cartoven the Master Merchant - sat on his haunches in the dirt and lit a long sailwood pipe, the children of the village eagerly copied him and formed a small group around the creature.

  "So" He said before taking in a puff of his pipe "What would you children like to hear about hmm?" The small crowd excitedly shouting out the names of locations both real and of legend, names of grand temples, far off kingdoms, and some places plucked right out of dream and nightmares.

  "Ho ho ok ok" Cartoven said waving his hands in front of him in defeat. "There's far too much of the wider world of Khastuul for me to tell you in but a single tale." He takes his pipe in his mouth, holding it between his large teeth and retrieved a book and pen from his large dirty overcoat. Opening the book he lay it on the ground. With a few incantations the pen floated point down to the blank page, and started frantically writing.

  "We'll make a game of it. By the time I am done with this evening's story, this book will be filled with a few short stories from every corner of the world. Tales of the Burning City, the flying islands of the Aamvarii, the Whispering Wilds, Gallion's Grave. Even tales from the Underland of Stoney Sky, and beyond the Yawning Portal. And one of you children will get to keep it." With the child audience's full attention he began "So what shall we discuss then aye?" Excitedly one child raised their hand and shouted out "The Myriad Glimpses!" The smile removed from Cartoven's face, and their was a long pause in the air. "Very well, but this is not a tale for those that frighten easily".

  "... His story ended with a warning.... Never invoke the power of The Six. I wish I... I wish WE had heard that message all those years ago." With that the thin man finished his story, finished his drink, laid 4 silver pieces on the counter, and began to saunter out of the bar. One of the patrons called to him. "Wait Feringold, did... did you ever find the Myriad Glimpses?" Turning to answer the man his mouth opened and as if on cue all in the bar heard the low steady thumping of a heart beat, and Feringold's face drew pale as if all life left him. His face distorted as if to scream but too terrified to. The sound of the heart beat continuing, the bar patrons panicking, none of them able to speak, to call out, to cry for help.

  The beating continued, thum thum.. thum thum.. and then the door opened. At it's threshold stood a figure against the moonlight; his cloak black and swirling as if it were made of living shadow. Under the hood the face of an elf with deep purple eyes, and skin the color of slate. In it's hand a glass orb with small silver lines running through the shell like veins. Suspended by these silver veins at the center a beating heart.. thum thum.. thum thum.. "Our business is not concluded Mr. Feringold. Some knowledge comes with a price."

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